Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; Thou art clothed with honor and majesty:  Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment... Psalm CIV

Divine love and wisdom are substance and form in themselves, thus the one and only absolute. E. Swedenborg


From truth which is from good any one can see evil and its falsity; but from evil none can see what is good and true; and for the reason that falsities of evil are darkness and correspond to darkness; consequently those that are in falsities from evil are like the blind, not seeing the things that are in light, but shunning them instead like birds of night. But as truths from good are light, and correspond to light, so those that are in truths from good have sight and open eyes, and discern the things that pertain to light and shade. Emanuel Swedenborg [HH 487]

Since our outer world corresponds to our inner world, we can understand and clear up many misconceptions about our inner world by understanding their natural counterparts. For example, most of us more or less understand what natural darkness is but remain confused as to the meaning of spiritual darkness. But, if we clearly understood the meaning of natural darkness, we would no longer have difficulty understanding the significance of spiritual darkness.

What is natural darkness? It is not anything in itself! It is a LACK, a lack of LIGHT. And Light has many functions. Firstly, it allows us to see and differentiate the natural objects in our outer world. When we have no Light, we cannot see or judge the qualities of objects in our world. We can guess or believe as to what they could be but we have no certainty because we lack Light. When we have no Light, we also stumble into things in the dark. In natural darkness, we tend to become fearful because we fantasize or imagine as to what creatures or monsters could be lurking around us. This is why children are afraid of the dark.

Have you ever tried to fix or repair something in the dark? In fact, surgeons must use powerful lamps to clearly see what they are doing when they operate on the human body. It is  by Light that they can recognize the different and intricate parts of the human body. We cannot do anything useful when we are in darkness; we just stumble around and try to survive as best we can. We cannot also perceive and appreciate the beauty around us, nor are we able to distinguish what is beautiful from what is ugly. Thus, we may be fooled into appreciating what is not particularly graceful.

Well, spiritual darkness or falsehood is also nothing in itself. It is a lack of spiritual Light or Truth. Truth is the Light of our inner world or mind; it is the Divine Idea of God or the spiritual form of Heaven. Our own mind in fact evolved according to the harmonic proportions or ratios of Heaven or Truth. And the spiritual objects (or forms) of our inner world are ideas. When we are in spiritual darkness and have no spiritual Light or Truth in our inner world, we cannot clearly perceive the ideas that are in our mind. Thus we are not able to judge or differentiate between our ideas. In fact, in spiritual darkness, we live in a world of illusions, fantasies and lies because we can be easily fooled into believing what is false or irrational. In contrast, when we are enlightened by Truth, we live in reality and rationality because we can differentiate what is rational from what is irrational or distorted.

Where can we find this spiritual Light or Truth that we desperately need to enlighten our mind? Although it is difficult to believe, the Bible is in fact the Light of our mind. Why? The higher meaning of the Bible is Divine Truth or Divine Light. We cannot understand the universe, the objects around us and the ideas in our mind if we do not understand how Heaven and earth were produced by correspondence and influx from God’s substance (Love) and form (Truth). And this knowledge, intelligence and Wisdom is contained in the Bible. The Bible also explains how the human mind evolved and why it is presently in spiritual darkness. It also includes information about how we can extricate ourselves from this darkness so we can enter the enlightened spheres of Heaven.

The natural world is a world of effects. And the uses, causes and purposes of these effects reside in higher dimensions of life, mind and spirit. When we confine our understanding to sensual matter, time and space, we are choosing to live in spiritual darkness. In fact, many scientists who tend to be intelligent and rational choose nevertheless to reject God, spirituality, religion and the Bible. But this is because rationality is only the lower level of the human spiritual mind. And we can reason about natural objects, space, time and matter and still be in spiritual darkness. If Divine Truth is the Light of our mind and Divine Truth is the Word or higher meaning of the Bible, when we reject the Bible, we are choosing to live in spiritual darkness or falsehood.

This is the judgment: The Light has come into the world and the children of men loved the darkness more than The Light, because their works were evil [selfish]. For everyone who does what is hateful, hates The Light and does not come to The Light, lest his works should be convicted. But he who does The Truth comes to The Light, so that his works may be revealed, that they are performed by God [Love]. John 3:19-21

The reason we are taught by being enlightened is that enlightenment is an attribute of both our learning and our discernment, since our discernment, the sight of our inner self, is enlightened by spiritual light exactly the way our eyes, the sight of our outer self, are enlightened by physical light. There is the same kind of teaching in each case, but our inner sight, the sight of our discernment, is taught by spiritual objects, while our outer sight, that of our eyes, is taught by physical objects.

There is spiritual light and there is physical light. Outwardly, they seem to be alike, but inwardly they are different. Physical light comes from the sun of the physical world and is essentially dead, while spiritual light comes from the sun of the spiritual world and is essentially alive. This latter light enlightens our discernment, but physical light does not. Our earthly and rational illumination comes from spiritual and not from physical light. We speak of it as earthly and rational because it is "spiritual-earthly."

[2] There are three levels of light in the spiritual world: heavenly [celestial] light, spiritual light, and spiritual-earthly light. Heavenly light, the light of people in the third heaven, is rich and flamelike; spiritual light, the light of people in the middle heaven, is brilliantly clear; and spiritual-earthly light is like daylight in our world. It is the light of people in the lowest heaven and in the world of spirits that is halfway between heaven and hell. In that world, though, it is like our summer light for good people and like winter light for evil ones.

[3] Still, we need to be aware that the light of the spiritual world has nothing in common with that of our physical world. They are as different as life and death. We can therefore see that the physical light we see with our eyes does not enlighten our discernment; only spiritual light does. People are unaware of this because they have not known anything about spiritual light before. I explained in Heaven and Hell 126-140 that in its origin spiritual light is divine wisdom or divine truth.

Since heaven's light has been discussed, something needs to be said about hell's light as well. There are three levels of light in hell, too. The light in the deepest hell is like that of glowing coals; the light in the middle hell is like that of a fireplace; and the light of the uppermost hell is like that of candles, and for some people like moonlight at night. These lights are not physical but spiritual, since all physical light is dead and snuffs out discernment. People in hell do have that ability to discern that is called rationality, as already noted. True rationality comes from spiritual light; not a trace of it comes from physical light. The spiritual light that gives people in hell their rationality is turned into hellish light the way daylight turns to the gloom of night.

All the people in the spiritual world, though, whether in the heavens or in the hells, see just as clearly in their own light as we do in our own daylight. This is because for all of us, our eyes are adapted to receive the light we live in. So the eyesight of heaven's angels is adapted to receive the light that surrounds it and the eyesight of hell's spirits is adapted to receive its own light. This eyesight is like the sight of owls and bats, who see things at night or in the twilight just as clearly as other winged creatures see them in daytime. Their eyes are adapted to receive their own light.

However, the difference between the lights is obvious to people who look from one light into another. For example, when angels of heaven look into hell, they see nothing but pure darkness there, and when spirits of hell look into heaven, they see nothing but darkness there. This is because heavenly wisdom is like darkness to people in hell; and conversely, hellish insanity is like darkness to people in heaven.

This shows that the nature of our understanding determines the nature of our light, and that each one of us will come into his or her own light after death. We have no sight in any other. In the spiritual world, where we are all spiritual even in respect to our bodies, our eyes are adapted to see in their own light. The love of our life makes an intelligence for itself and therefore a light as well. Love is actually like the fire of life that gives off the light of life. Emanuel Swedenborg [DP 166-167]


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